ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu has warned that, if the party did not confront its challenges, it would fall apart and lose any credibility needed to contest an election.
In an interview with Talk Radio 702's Stephen Grootes on Monday morning, Mthembu also announced that he may take leave from national politics after the ANC's national conference in December to spend more time with his family.
"If we do not, as the ANC, do everything in our power to confront these challenges head-on, we might have no ANC at all. We might have no credible ANC to contest any coming elections, let alone 2019," Mthembu said.
"We have to do everything in our power now to save the ANC. We need good-quality leaders, not tainted by corruption, not tainted by state capture.
"We believe that, for [the ANC] to be the movement that our people yearn it to be, you need good people at the helm. That is why [I will] be rooting for Cyril Ramaphosa," Mthembu said.
"If we are able to deal with state capture, all those state-owned enterprises that are supposedly captured, government departments that are supposedly captured ... then we will be on the right track."
He warned that "character assassinations" would be conducted against those who, like him, supported Ramaphosa's camp.
"I never thought people could go this low in trying to character-assassinate the reputation of a competitor, and indeed, this has happened. We are told that there are many that will follow, those who are supportive of him [Ramaphosa]."
Mthembu became emotional, saying he would not become an absent father and husband.
"There is this son of mine, I think I could have done better ... there are many [of Mthembu's children] who have graduated, but there are many who are still young. I won't like them to follow in the footsteps of this first-born of mine," he said.
He said that his first-born son was a drug addict and was currently in prison.
"I cannot be an absent father, I cannot be an absent husband," he said.